I belong to a lot of adoption groups, one of them being Concerned United Birthparents. Right now on the CUB e-mail list, we are talking about the idea of helping women to parent. As birthparents, we want to know what we can do to save others from suffering the same losses we did.
Now, most of us don’t think family preservation is desirable in all cases. Some first parents have problems that are so persistent and ingrained that it isn’t to the child’s advantage to stay with Mom or Dad. The child can’t wait while the parent gets everything sorted out…it would take too long, and it wouldn’t be all that different from a foster care arrangement.
But so many adoptions aren’t about parents with problems. Instead, we are seeing capable women (and sometimes men) who are only lacking some simple self-confidence. Rather than persuasion toward relinquishment, all they need is an “attagirl” and a vote of confidence.
As one birthmother on the CUB list wrote:
“For some today, and for many of us yesterday, all that would be needed is some encouraging words and maybe a place to stay, and sometimes we can provide that. I was one who finally just “gave up” having been convinced my child was better off without me. An encouraging word to me, and in my particular case, my parents, would have been all that was needed.”
That’s a shame. Adoption is too big, with too many lifelong consequences, to take place for such an easily fixable reason.
But this scenario is acgtually quite common. As someone who is contacted by families in crisis on a regular basis, I can report that this is something I hear again and again. All most people need is someone to tell them, “You can do this. You have it in you to succeed.”
Another birthmom wrote:
“I do think that if just one person had told me that I was
the best person in the world to raise him, and had shown me a place to live with daycare while I worked for a year, I could have made it…We can’t change the nature of any woman’s extended family and I don’t disagree that there are women out there who have such profound emotional or mental problems or so little maturity that it would take a lot more help than
anyone is likely to give. But, I sure would like to work on the problem, one girl at a time, and try to save the ones that are giving up simply because of lack of confidence, lack of funds and daycare and lack of someone in their corner who is telling them that they are good enough.”
Amen. If all a woman needs is a bit of temporary assistance and support, we shouldn’t be pushing her towards adoption as the very first solution. You gotta match the tool to the task, and in cases of parents with self-confidence issues, relinquishment is an sledgehammer, when all that is needed is a light tap on the back.